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Everything posted by Adrian

  1. I'm more than willing to give the author another try and will definitely keep an eye out for what I see is her first novel. I didn't think this was 'bad' just inconsistent and a bit 'here and there' if that makes sense. Certain parts I liked, other parts, not so much. I never knew how the narrator really felt about the landlady.
  2. I didn't really like this, but as I did read it through and not abandon it I'm being a little harsh. The time period is the first thing I'd like to readdress. I thought it was a present-day novel at first and didn't realise until later from reading other forums that this all happened in the 1960s. I thought that the fact he worked on cars from that era would have been perfect understandable as they were classics and he didn't work on Ford Cortinas or Austin Princesses. The interior narrative was well done, especially the way he felt about his mum. What I didn't like is that there was no story and no ending. It was just stuff that happened (he moved to a new town to get away from his old life) and then he just spends the last third of the novel in prison. The end. It's two different novels in one and it doesn't gel for me. I haven't read any other books by Hyland and this leaves me on the fence with regards to reading more of her work. It wasn't terrible and as MisterHobgoblin says he (Oxtoby) isn't necessarily as heterosexual as he'd like to think he is and so the narration is nicely ambiguous, and the book as a whole does have a 'must read another page' writing style, but I just didn't really care about any of the characters.
  3. Oh, I say! Very impressive. Filling Station
  4. This thread is to discuss this book and nothing else.
  5. This book is about...lots of things Language is at the heart of Wilkins' latest novel. Speech also. How do you pronounce the word 'language'? How does your tongue make the sound? And how weird is the word tongue anyway? Supposedly a mid-life crisis novel this is anything but. Paddy Thompson is turning fifty but very happy. He's bought an apartment on the fifth floor in in a newly built apartment block in Wellington, and also moved his mother into the flat next door. He's a speech therapist is Paddy, and much of the novel revolves around his patients. However, his mother one day wakes up and starts speaking avec une accent Francois and that throws him off kilter.. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who doesn't live in Wellington, NZ. We're a small town and if you don't live here (or maybe Lower Hutt) you wouldn't get the most out of it. Really, it's one of those books that is "World famous in New Zealand" and the location is really what sells it for me. One bonus point to the poetry lover who can name the poem that the title came from.
  6. So it is. I'm apparently as interested in this as most others. I'll stick with my number and so, counting both of Barblue's that would make it Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. I'm not sure votes do help in gauging numbers. Sometimes the number of different people who posted was less than the number who voted. Indications of interest most welcome.
  7. My prime number was 5 so Wally Lamb "The Hour I First Believed" is the book. Does anyone even care? Even in the slightest?
  8. I gave this my best shot but I didn't get past page 30(?) of the illustrated edition. I know what the Eiffel Tower looks like so I don't need a photo of it. It did nothing for me, and reminded of that Antarctica book I read by Mark Reilly. Literally. I never did bother to read far enough to wonder why he started one line 'Oh!' and the next line 'O!' - it's almost as if there wasn't a spare aitch in the second anagram. I really wanted to hit someone with the book as I returned it to the library. Some librarian, because no one would complain, they'd just see which book it was and put it down to an occupational hazard.
  9. Great chef, terrible TV person. The way he did the voice overs 6 months later really stood out. Awful programme, not helped by the skinny guests, Kathy Lette excepted. She's the best. And the closeups on his face mean the director should be fired.
  10. Adrian

    Have a Rant!

    I didn't see it myself but I always thought Nick Griffin and Gordon Brown do in certain ways see eye to eye.
  11. I think it could. As a mature adult (yes, really!) reading a CYA book I find it difficult to think now whether it would have appealed to me when I was the age of its intended audience.
  12. Clay lies still, but blood's a rover; Breath's a ware that will not keep. Up, lad: when the journey's over There'll be time enough to sleep. From A Shropshire Lad, by A.E. Housman
  13. I feel that everything in a book should be there for a reason. So, first of all, what is this here for? (each story gets its own Shawn Tan drawing preceding it) It's like some psychiatrist is trying to trick me into revealing my inner-most thoughts by talking about the picture. "What do you see here?" Well, the left tusk has obviously been taken by Lesothon ivory smugglers, and regardless of the injunctions we all know what Andrew Marr has been up to with his 'trunk' and why does it only have one knee and I bet that bird has pood into his hand and is that Hazel's snake at the end of the trunk and I bet I'd look pretty in that dress and that thing at the top of his headdress has to have been drawn by someone at Viz. And then then there's the caption: "Anyone might accidentally dig up the wrong grave." Look love, I dig up the "wrong" grave every now and then just to throw plod off the scent. Are these hypothetical Burkes & Hares illiterate? Last time I wandered through a graveyard there was a pretty useful thing marking each burial plot. It's called a gravestone. Anyway, this story concerns a boyfriend who tries to recover his poems ("Three haikus, a sestina, and two villanelles. Some longer pieces.") from his recently dead girlfriend's coffin. He'd thrown them in there as some grand gesture. As you do. If it was me I would have twittered them first to save myself the bother. I couldn't take it seriously as all I wanted to do when I started reading it was watch Goodfellas again, which is what I did instead of finishing it.
  14. Nowhere else would have me.
  15. I haven't followed Lynda LaPlante's recent career (this and Prime Suspect are all I've watched) but I do know that when she's on form there's no better writer of British TV drama. The basic premise is: What's a Para to do when he leaves the forces? Sure, he learned a trade, but that trade doesn't translate so much into civilian life. Frank leaves the Paras after a long period of service but whilst still young. Among the places he served was Belfast, where a bomb in a pub did much to change him and his colleagues, both physically and otherwise. This incident is used a lot in flashback and shows LaPlante's mastery of writing for television. The flashbacks are used sparingly and at the right times, something most writers get wrong. He doesn't fit back well into civilian life and LaPlante is great at showing us that it's the families of the recently 404'ed and not just the man himself that suffer. She over eggs this aspect somewhat by making the big bad army man a little too nasty in domestic situations, but I can see why she did it. It's her "All Men Are Bad" philosophy at work. Steve, the comrade with the throat wound is my favourite secondary character. So much to say and he can't say it. And he has a proper story arc, something that's missing from the other one-dimensional ex-squaddies. The production has some faults. Peter O'Toole hams it up as the father of a soldier who died in the bar explosion, and there's the usual Token Black Man casting, but those are minor problems. This is LaPlante at the prime of her writing career. Jason Isaacs, who went on to play one of the Caffee freres in Brotherhood deserves a mention as the main character. All the male characters also deserve "Best Facial Hair in a TV Show" awards for their moustaches, though Willie Apiata VC shows that that look is still favoured today.
  16. Adrian

    Juvenile Jokes

    I don't get it. (And let's hope that's the last time that reply's posted!)
  17. Adrian

    Juvenile Jokes

    But I went down to tell it my friend on the second floor and he laughed. I heard that he then went up to the seventeenth floor and told it to a group there and they thought it "hilarious." Someone then went down to the basement and shared with the parking attendants and they "giggled a little" though I think they may have just been polite what with Christmas coming. So I'd have to say that the joke really did work on so many levels.
  18. I've heard anecdotes of his power and I heard some winemakers actually tailor their wines to what he likes in hopes of getting an extra point or two! Another unhealthy aspect of the sway he has. I saw today There's a film about the 1976 "Judgment of Paris" - Bottle Shock
  19. Adrian

    Juvenile Jokes

    I know you are but what am I?
  20. I liked this. I am pretty sure it was written before Floyd's demise and so I don't think it was cashing in at all (he discovered Keith Floyd and produced all the shows as well as doing the same for Rick Stein). Let's be clear: Pritchard isn't the best writer there ever was, but he can tell a good story. And as it should be in all autobiographical tales, the taller the tale, the better the book: Floyd and his booze are the unsurprising stars of the book. Claret, English bitter, Sancerre, cider, double whiskies at opening time, champagne, claret, sundowners. You have to admire the man and also wonder how he lasted so long. I wish I could have eaten in one of Floyd's restaurants, though I don't think being married to him or being one of his creditors would have been quite so much fun. Pritchard is a very good narrator, and I raced through the book. I do love reading about food and booze:
  21. WE meet ’neath the sounding rafter, And the walls around are bare; As they shout back our peals of laughter It seems that the dead are there. Then stand to your glasses, steady! We drink in our comrades’ eyes: One cup to the dead already— Hurrah for the next that dies! Dunno who wrote it, might look it up later.
  22. Having now read your review I now understand what I didn't like about that story. It has the 'wavy lines' problem of a TV show where the narrator is telling a story and goes, "And then the old sea captain said..." before the screen does that wobbly thing and we go to flashback and I wonder how the narrator knew what the sea captain really was thinking about.
  23. I haven't read any Ishiguro before so I don't know how this collection of thematically related short stories fits into his oeuvre. The first story, Crooner, is by far the best and none of the following live up to it. I got a real sense of sadness while reading it, not that I wanted to cry, just that all the protagonists' stories really moved me. I thought it was by far the most successful one, maybe because of the way he conveyed the 'foreigner' who was the musician. The others I liked but due to their shortness they fell into the category of 'a snippet of a story' rather than being fully formed themselves. I deliberately didn't flick ahead to see where any story finished so I never knew where each one was going or when it was going to end. Then, boom, the story is no more and there's no resolution. Like a fugue that doesn't resolve itself back into its original key, these endings felt uncomfortable. I liked this but I don't feel the urge to read anything else by Ishiguro.
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